Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Gospel According to...Jessica Cannizzaro

Name: Jessica Cannizzaro

Hometown: New York City

Education: BA with high honors in Theater and Political Science, Swarthmore College
(Other education: British American Drama Academy; Bronx High School of Science)

Who do you play in The Mysteries?: A ukulele-strumming member of everyone's favorite singing, dancing, and general holiness-emitting Choir of Angels.

Tell us about The Mysteries: The Mysteries is an adventure. It is a myriad of 48 different universes that co-exist in a single night in a single room in a single city on Earth. It is a time capsule buried under the weight of centuries and stuffed with stories that you thought you knew, once upon a time, maybe. It is a beautiful dream born from the mind of one and breathed into existence from the mouths of many.

Describe The Mysteries in three words: Year’s best party!

What's the wildest costume you wear in The Mysteries?: The angels in our production have shed the classic robes/wings/halos look for an edgier wardrobe of punk rock chestnuts. A lot of safety pins and studs are involved. They have me sporting an awesome double-bun hairstyle, which makes me feel like I’m Mel B (and nothing gets you more pumped for a show than feeling like a Spice Girl).

If you could be anyone from The Bible, who would you be?: I’ve always felt a certain affinity for that crazy cool giant-slayer David. He’s helped me work through a very deep-seated Napoleon complex.

Which company member is most likely to actually have lived during Biblical times?: I think Justin Ahdoot is most likely to accidentally invent a time machine and use it to sneak into the last supper purely to get in on all the delicious noshing. Does that count?

Which company member is most likely to be the Messiah?: Colin Waitt, who has not yet failed to make me weep like a baby onstage every night. I would follow him anywhere.

Most likely to become an angel?: David Dabbon, God bless his soul. The man is a saint. Every time he smiles, an angel gets its wings.

Most likely to hear voices in their head?: Xan Russell has a party going on in her head all the time, and I’m just looking for a way to snag an invitation.

Who's the most spiritual?:
Ned “Rise To The Top” Riseley is the spiritual glue that binds the angels together. Look for his new spiritual fusion restaurant to open in Tribeca in the near future!

On the 8th day god said_____: This feels excessive; let’s go back to seven.

Are you going to heaven or hell?: I’ll go wherever I can get a decent cup of coffee, access to a sweeping library, and an unlimited daily crossword subscription (God, if you’re trolling the internet, reading this interview, and taking requests, know that my official preference is for the former).

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins are you?: Oh, gluttony for sure. Every day at The Mysteries we serve the audience a delicious dinner, and then we bring down the leftovers to share as a cast. Which means we stuff as much amazing food into our faces as possible before going back onstage. I apologize in advance if I smell like falafel during Act II.

What's the biggest inside joke at The Mysteries?: Screlt like a llama, Ned. Like a LLAMA.

What's your favorite moment from The Mysteries?: I melt every time we all pick up our instruments and play, sing, and dance together towards the end of the night. Ultimately, this show is a celebration of life. It is a glorious love poem to the chaos, messiness, and endless beauty of humanity. And when we’re all sharing music and laughter with each other onstage, I feel every single ounce of that love emanating throughout the theater.

What is the most rewarding part about being a member of The Mysteries?:
The folks in this show, with their endless talent, good cheer, and creativity, have made my spirit feel capable of any adventure. They have taught me to fear less, mistake more, and in the end, gaze directly into the infinity that surrounds every possibility. They move me like a warm mug of earl grey tea, or jeans that fit you perfectly, or a good book that you love to re-read even though you can recite it. Getting to call such a beautiful community my home for the past few months? I feel lucky beyond belief.

Why should we come see The Mysteries?: Come for Billy Porter’s soul-shaking gospel music, for the punk band of angels, for the kissing, for falafel and hummus, for the excitement of hearing what witticisms Ed Iskandar will create next, for 350 different costumes, for the coolest group of apostles this side of 14th street, for the party of the year, for Jesus (nicest guy you’ll ever meet). Stay for the stories. The incredible stories!